Shan Jiang: ‘For me, sustainability is a philosophical concept’

Name: Shan Jiang
Lives in: Zurich, Switzerland
Country of origin: China
Period in Germany: 2007 to 2010 and 2013 to 2014
Educational institution: Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH))
Occupation: Consultant for sustainable management

Shan Jiang studied for an MBA in Information and Media Technologies at the Hamburg University of Technology, and now lives as a business consultant in Zurich. In 2013 he was awarded an International Climate Protection Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and conducted research into the sustainability strategies of Chinese and European enterprises. He is contributing to the Alumniportal’s Hands-on Project on ‘Sustainable living’ as a jury member.

Sustainability provides the basis for a healthy life in harmony with nature. Shan Jiang sees it in such philosophical terms. In this interview, he explains what that means, both for himself and for his country, China.

Mr Jiang, in your own words, how would you define sustainability?

Shan Jiang: To me, sustainability is a philosophical concept that has been present throughout history – even though today it’s primarily a question about economics, social policy and the environment. Personally, I am attempting to understand myself better through sustainability, in as harmonic a relationship possible with nature and society. As Socrates said: ‘Know thyself!’

How did you develop your understanding of sustainability?

Shan Jiang: For one thing, I wrote my master thesis about a management tool for corporate sustainability. For another, I once worked as the sustainability officer for a Chinese mining company, which gave me a lot of experience. Also, I lived for a long time in Beijing where they often have smog. That’s why I know from personal experience how important it is for organisations to improve their sustainability strategies.

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